Group of concerned parents dispute council’s middle school facts

Concerned parents with pupils at Stowmarket Middle School
Concerned parents with pupils at Stowmarket Middle School

A group of concerned parents are calling on council bosses to halt the closure of middle schools until the outcome of an educational inquiry is known.

The group says the authority was ‘very selective’ in its use of information and statistics presented to parents in its consultation to axe middle schools in Stowmarket and Stowupland.

They have launched petitions calling on bosses to stop the school organisation review in these areas until the Raising the Bar initiative - the council’s review on improving attainment - is completed.

The group, which is affiliated to the confederation of community groups Suffolk Action for a Truth on SOR, want the authority to act only ‘when full and sufficient funding to make those changes is in place’.

A spokeswoman said: “The council has blamed the three tier system for all the ills in Suffolk’s education system and the reason why schools have failed so badly. We feel this is totally unfounded. Statistics show that for every year for the past 12 years, despite the closure of middle schools in some areas and huge redundancies of staff, Suffolk has fallen further and further in the league tables to the appalling place we now find ourselves in.”

She added that the middle schools have ‘consistently out performed the Suffolk attainment average at Key Stage Two’.

Addressing their concerns , Cllr Graham Newman, cabinet member for education, said: “Attainment in three tier has been consistently below that in the two tier areas.”

He said that in Lowestoft and Haverhill, which has moved to two tier, there was a nine per cent increase in those reaching level four in maths and English at Key Stage Two.

He added: “Completing SOR is an integral part of Raising the Bar, not an alternative to it.

“Just four out of 27 Suffolk middle schools have outcomes better than national average at Key Stage Two compared with 68 out of 140 two tier primaries.”

The group will hold a meeting at The Cedars Hotel, in Stowmarket, today at 7.30pm for concerned parents.

For the e-petition, visit http://petitions.web-labs.co.uk/suffolkcc/public/STOP-the-SOR-from-proceeding-in-the-Stowmarket---Stowupland-Pyramid-schools